Second Baptist Church of Malvern, Arkansas, was organized April 8, 1906. On that day a group of brethren met in presbytery at the mill Street Schoolhouse and organized a Landmark Missionary Baptist church. Reverend Alec Tucker of Magnet Cove, J.C. Ross and R.P. Goodman, deacons of Malvern Baptist Church (First Baptist), and a deacon, Dr. H. Purifoy of Malvern, assisted. Reverend Alec Tucker was chosen moderator and J.C. Ross as clerk. There were 32 members who presented letters, which were accepted. The Articles of Faith by Pendleton and the Church Covenant were read and adopted. The presbytery declared it a regular Landmark Missionary Baptist Church. Reverend J.M. Clem was elected moderator, Pro Tem, and R.H. Sebreh, clerk. “How Firm a Foundation” was sung while the members extended each other the right had of church fellowship. (this material was taken from the church minutes as recorded by J.C. Ross as clerk). Mrs. Linnie Robbins Lewis, a long-time member of the church but now deceased, was a child of eleven and remembered going to the church site with “Granny” Smith and being there when they met to complete the organization. The church’s foundation had already been laid according to the Times Journal of April 11, 1906. The land on which the building was built was sold to the church by John M. Clem, Sr. and Fannie Clem, his wife, for a sum of $80.00 and included Lots 12, 13 and 14 in Block 3 in the Sullenberger addition of Malvern, Arkansas. At that time there was no street to the East of the church with only Mill Street in front.
After the organizational meeting of April 8, 1906, church services were held in the one-room schoolhouse on Rock Street until the new building was ready for use.
At the next meeting, April 22, 1906, Reverend J.M. Clem was chosen unanimously as the first pastor. Brother Clem was well known as a great spiritual leader and business man of Malvern. He personally canvassed the city soliciting funds for the church building and later publicly thanked the community leaders for their help.
The church lost no time in joining with other brethren of the same faith and order, because on April 28, 1906, delegates attended a district meeting at Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The delegates were R.H. Sebren, Sam Collie, and W.A. Haley.
The church building was quickly completed with much of the work donated. The Arkansas Meteor made these comments on May 4, 1906, “The Second Baptist Church near the corner of Mill and Dyer Streets will be quite an imposing edifice and will doubtless prove a great convenience to the church going people residing in this portion of the city.” On June 3, 1906, the church met in its new house and Brother J.M. Clem preached the dedication ceremony taking his text from Second Chronicles. The Malvern Meteor of June 8, 1906, again commented on the building, “The building is a neat and commodious house of worship and will not doubt prove a blessing to Malvern.”
A series of meetings followed the dedication Sunday with Brother Clem, assisted by Brother R.F. Russell, Saline Baptist Association missionary preaching. There were fourteen additions to the church.
The name South Malvern Landmark Missionary Baptist Church of Christ appears as the first name used, but on June 23, 1906, the group voted the church to be called South Malvern Landmark Missionary Baptist Church. In July 1906, the word “South” was taken out and the church called itself First Landmark Missionary Baptist Church.
The organizers of First Landmark Missionary Baptist Church were making every effort they could to insure they be known as a Landmark church in name, faith, and practice. This particular time in Baptist history in Arkansas was very controversial. In 1901 there had been a split between the Landmark and the Convention factions, resulting in the forming of the General Association of Arkansas Baptist in April 1902. The Landmark churches were generally sympathetic with this organization.
The name First Landmark Missionary Baptist Church was used by the church in official business, but the community as a whole said Second Baptist Church or Malvern Second Church. The newspapers in reporting church news called it Second Baptist Church. Officially, the name was not changed to Second Baptist Church until March 23, 1949, in regular conference on that date.
In July 1906, the editor of the Arkansas Baptist, C.R. Powell made a visit to the church in interest of the Baptist paper.
In August, 1906, Brother Clem was again chosen pastor. Brother G.W. Smith was chose clerk and J.J. Tarvin, treasurer.
The first baptizing was in September, 1906, at the mill site on Chatman Creek on the Dyer Street Road. There were eighteen baptized by Brother Clem.
In October, 1906, a committee was chosen to raise money for a bell. The committee was composed of Mabel Mumford, Georgia Fuester, Katy Potts, and Ada Carrell with J.J. Tarvin and J.H. Howard to make the purchase. The 30-inch bell was purchased for $26.50. This bell has played a big part in the church history through the years. Each Sunday for many years it was rung to remind people of worship services. Often times it was tolled upon the death of a member. Prior to the fire of June, 2007, it hung on the church lawn as a guardian of the past.
On October 6, 7, and 8, 1906, the Saline Baptist Association met with Brush Creek Missionary Baptist Church and the minutes stated “Malvern Second Church was received on petitionary letter and her messengers welcomed and given right hand of fellowship by the moderator, Elder A. Tucker”. Delegates to this meeting from First Landmark Missionary Baptist Church or Malvern Second Church of Malvern were J.M. Clem, R. H. Sebren, and W.R. Chambers. The report gave a membership of sixty-five. Bro. Clem delivered the sermon on October 7, in the morning services.
On October 26, 1906, the group voted to purchase an organ for Sunday School and church services. Sallie Potts, Annie Dyer and Anna Smith were to attend to this matter. The organ cost $38.42 including freight. Miss Berdie Fitzhugh was the first organist.
The district meeting was held with Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in December, 1906. Delegates to this meeting were B.C. Fitzhugh, J.J. Tarvin, and Sam Collie.
Immediately, dissention arose over the use of music in the church, and in conference on April 15, 1907, the church voted to have the organ removed. J.J. Tarvin purchased it for $40.00. However on October 10, 1909, the church rescinded the former vote and made plans to buy another organ.
A revival meeting was held from January 16, 1907, to January 30, 1907, with A.P. Scofield of Little Rock leading the services.
In February, 1907, a committee was appointed to meet with the City Council concerning construction of a street from Mill Street to Sullenberger. In April, the group voted to arrange electric services. Heating the church was by coal and lighting was by oil lamps.
On August 10, 1907, J.M. Clem was again chosen as pastor. George Clem was clerk and J.J. Tarvin treasurer. Janitorial service was performed by J.J Tarvin at no cost to the church. L.R. Sweeney was Sunday School superintendent.
In 1908, the same officers were chosen. The church was painted inside and two new lamps were added. On October 30 to November 3, 1908, the General Association of Landmark Baptist Church convened in Malvern with First Landmark Missionary Baptist Church as host church. G.W. Smith, J.H. Howard, Johnny Clem, and Thomas Harp formed a committee to see to the housing of the delegates. The meeting was held in the skating rink just off Main Street near the railroad. A large delegation from all over the state formed one of the largest delegations in the history of Malvern. “Over Sunday, the visiting ministers preached from various pulpits. Malvern opened wide her doors and their presence among us was a divine pleasure”.
There was a sad note at this time in the church fellowship in November 1908. Many very faithful members asked for letters of dismissal and Brother Clem resigned in December, 1908. The minutes explaining the situation were expunged from the record.
On January 9, 1909, Brother B. C. Fitzhugh was elected moderator, Pro Tem. Even though the church had no pastor, worship in Sunday School and prayer meeting continued. B.C. Fitzhugh was Sunday School superintendent and Brother J.H. Howard was assistant. Brother Fitzhugh also served as church clerk.
On February 20, 1909, Brother Ashley Wood was elected pastor. J.H. Howard, J.D. Potts, and B.C. Fitzhugh were to check the cost of installing electric lights.
Brother J.H. Howard was recommended for mission work on March 11, 1909.
In June, a Sunday School picnic near Oakridge Cemetery was attended and enjoyed by the children from all of the churches in Malvern. There was free lemonade served, a merry-go-round and many games added to the fun.
On July 11, 1909, Brother J.R. Wallis was made a deacon, having served as deacon at Big Creek Baptist Church. Brother Ashley Wood continued as pastor with the same officers serving.
On Marcy 27, 1910, J.M. Wheat was received as a deacon from Big Creek Baptist Church. Other deacons serving were G.W. Smith, L.R. Sweeney, and J.R. Wallis. On October 9, 1910, Brother F.S. Gibson was elected as pastor for part time, sharing his time between the Midway Missionary Baptist Church and First Landmark Missionary Baptist Church of Malvern. He served until July 2, 1911.
At that time Brother M.P. Matheney of Little Rock was called as pastor. He was one of the most outstanding ministers of the Landmark faith in Arkansas and was quite prominent in Associational work. He was to be paid $15 for each week he came to preach. It was during Brother Matheney’s pastorate that the Ladies Auxiliary was organized by Mrs. Matheney on November 5, 1911. Mrs. Fred Harkins was elected president. To serve with her were Mrs. Cecil Taylor as vice-president, Mrs. J. Potts as secretary, and Miss Iva Yates, treasurer. There were 12 members in the organization.
In 1911, Sunday School officers elected were Charles Nusko, superintendent, A.C. Wheat, assistant superintendent, and John Fuester, secretary-treasurer and later Carl Benson. Charles Nusko was church clerk.
On May 5, 1912, B. C. Fitzhugh and Charles Nusko were ordained as deacons by First Landmark Missionary Baptist Church.
In the meantime, the church was undergoing some renovations and repairs in preparation for the State Association on November 6-9, 1912. The entertainment committee was composed of B.C. Fitzhugh, Charles Nusko, Mrs. Fred Harkins with J.C. Ross, R.P. Goodman and Felix Stevens from the First Baptist Church. Brother M.P. Matheney served as moderator of the meeting.
On December 1, 1912, literature for the Sunday School was changed from 52 Bible Lessons to the material published by the Landmark Sunday School Concern of Little Rock.
New officers for the church were elected in August 17, 1913, with Carl Benson as church clerk, Frank McCarty, Sunday School superintendent, B.C. Fitzhugh, Assistant superintendent with Allen Brady as secretary.
The Saline Baptist Association met with the church on October 3-5, 1913. There were forty-one churches represented and eighty-two messengers. Services were divided equally between the First Baptist Church and Landmark Missionary Baptist Church.
On December 7, 1913 Brother Lawrence E. Holt of Hamburg was called as pastor for the second and fourth Sundays of the month.
A committee composed of B.C. Fitzhugh, Allen Brady, Bob Wallis, Charles Nusko, and Fred Harkins was chosen to select seats for the church.
On April 12, 1913, the church showed a balance of $5.76 in the treasury with nothing owed on the pastor’s salary and all incidental expenses paid. The seat committee reported $381 to be the cost of the new seats. Several members assumed responsibility for paying or collecting for these.
July 1, 1914, First Landmark Baptist Church endorsed action taken by Malvern Officials in their efforts to banish the illegal sale of intoxicants, gaming, and all vices contrary to the best interest of the citizens of Malvern, especially the boys. The endorsement was signed by L.E. Holt, pastor, Charles Nusko, B.C. Fitzhugh, and J.R. Wallis, deacons.
On July 12, 1914, the seat committee stated that one half the cost of the seats had been paid and arrangements had been made to borrow money to pay the remainder. Lee Collie was thanked for his voluntary work in installing the seats. The old seats were sold for $16.
Janitorial service had been a problem from the beginning. Many members volunteered their services. When a custodian was paid it was from fifty cents to two dollars a month. This included cleaning the church, stoking the fires, ringing the bell, and many other duties. In 1914 the Ladies Auxiliary was complimented for keeping the church so clean.
In June 13, 1914, a protracted meeting was held with the pastor, Brother Hold, and his father G.E. Holt preaching. There were 29 additions.
In 1914, a church directory in a local paper listed services at Second Missionary Baptist Church. Regular services were on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Sunday school was at 9:45 a.m. with Frank McCarty as superintendent. Baptist Youth People’s Union met at 8:00 p.m. with Charles Nusko as president. New officers were elected August 9, 1914. L.E. Hold was reelected pastor for full time, Carl Benson, church clerk and treasurer, Jordan Landreth, Sunday School Superintendent, Carl Benson, Assistant superintendent, and Allen Brady, secretary-treasure.
A committee composed of Allen Brady, Gordon Merritt, and Carl Benson was appointed to investigate cost of piping the church for gas. On November 11, 1914, they reported the churched had been piped for gas, stoves bought and all paid for except for $14.00. Janitor payment was increased to a dollar a week which also including polishing the seats once a week. The treasurer reported he had renewed the tornado insurance on the building.
A district meeting was held with the church on January 28, 1915. On January 31, 1915 at 5:00 o’clock a windstorm hit Malvern. The church building was blown from its foundation and so wrecked that it was pronounced a total loss and even dangerous to be around.
On February 2, 1915, the group met in a called conference at Brother Bob Wallis’ home next door to the church. They accepted the offer of the Malvern School Board to use the high school auditorium for services. Fred Harkins, Gordon Merritt, B.C. Fitzhugh, Charles Nusko, Jordan Landreth, Sam Collie, J.R. Wallis, and the deacons were appointed as building committee.
The full amount of $1000 insurance was allowed and the wrecked building was included as a gift. Construction was very fast with much of the labor contributed. On April 25, 1915, services were held in the new building which had been built on the same site. The building committee reported a $393 indebtedness. On May 2, 1915 the deacons were authorized to borrow and pledge the church building to pay off the debt. Chairs for the Sunday School rooms were donated by the membership.
On August 1, 1915 new officers were chosen to begin the new year in a new building. Lawrence E. Holt was the pastor; B.C. Fitzhugh, treasurer; and Charles Nusko, clerk; Jordan Landreth, superintendent of Sunday School, with B.C. Fitzhugh as assistant; Mitchell Thompson, treasurer; Allen Brady, secretary.
It was a great day on August 8, 1915 when the new building was dedicated. Reverend L.E. Hold preached the dedication ceremony. There was a roll call of the members, and as in 1906, the Church Covenant and Articles of Faith were read.
The work of the church had received much help from the Ladies Auxiliary. Among there activities were quilting, ice cream socials, sock hops, rummage sales, bazaars, and other projects to help raise finances for church projects. They called the name of the organization the Ladies Auxiliary of the Second Baptist Church. They met in their homes and in the church. The quilts they made were sold and proceeds used for their projects. A quilt often brought four or five dollars. They also quilted for others at a dollar a spool. The ice cream socials were often held in a pine grove in front of the Carl Benson home on what is now Sunset Street. Ice Cream was sold for ten cents a bowl or cone. This was not only a money-making project but also a good social outing for the people. Dues and birthday offerings helped increase their funds. They contributed boxes of clothing to the Orphans’ Home, assisted the church in paying the pastor’s salary, carpeted the aisles of both church buildings helped to buy church pews, and did janitorial service when needed.
In the report made to the Saline Baptist Association of 1915, the membership was reported to be 221 with 175 enrolled in Sunday School. The church property was valued at $2500.
A wonderful tribute to the church was found in the first book of minutes by Carl Benson, church clerk at the time, “On the last page of this record let us invite those interested to read these pages of history of a church which loved God and is trying to serve Him, a church which had had many hard struggles, encountered many difficulties, but by the help of God has surmounted all, and is now a working little church of 221 members, worshipping in a building, completed April, 1915, with Elder Lawrence E. Hold as pastor.
The name Second Baptist Church was commonly used and replaced the name Landmark Missionary Baptist Church about 1919.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s the membership grew so rapidly that a new brick building was erected next to the church. On April 3, 1949, dedication services were held.
On October 28, 1963, services were held in a completely remodeled buff brick building. The church had a complete educational building that housed three Sunday School departments, kitchen, dining room, church office and pastor’s study. A new lobby and nursery facilities were added. The auditorium was increased from 240 to 500 persons. The choir loft was rebuilt and equipped with piano and organ wells.
Then on November 6, 1976, a new addition of 60,000 sq. ft was added to the west part of the building. Included in the new addition were church offices for the pastor, the secretary, youth director, additional Sunday School rooms and a children’s chapel.
In July 2001 a new multi-purpose building with kitchen and dining facilities was added to the north side of the building.
June 14, 2007, the worship building and classrooms were lost due to fire.
- 1. J.P. Allen (Joe Allen)
- 2. A.L. Allen (Almedia Allen)
- 3. Rev. J.M. Clem
- 4. Fannie Clem
- 5. Sam Collie
- 6. Delia Collie
- 7. John Clem, Jr
- 8. Mattie Clem
- 9. George Clem
- 10. Jane Collie
- 10. W.R. Chambers
- 12. Jennie Clem
- 13. Anna Dyer
- 14. M.S. Fuester (Mattie Sevilla)
- 15. Georgia Fuester (Wynne)
- 16. John Fuester
- 17. W.A. Halen
- 18. Carrie Haley
- 19. Rev. J.H. Howard
- 20. D.J. Potts
- 21. Sallie Potts
- 22. G.W.Smith
- 23. B.A. Smith
- 24. V.V. Smith (Val)
- 25. A.J. Smith (Anna)
- 26. J.J. Tarvin (John J.)
- 27. T.A. Tarvin (Mrs. John J.) (Theresa)
- 28. Lewis R. Sweeney
- 29. Mrs. Lewis Sweeney
- 30. R.H. Sebren
- 31. Mary Sebren
- 32. Kate Mumford
- J.M. Clem 4/02/1906 12/30/1908
- Ashley Wood 2/20/1909 7/10/1910
- F.D. Gibson 10/09/1910 9/03/1911
- M.P Matheney 9/03/1911 7/02/1913
- L.E. Holt 12/07/1913 7/23/1916
- J.E. Sherrill 1/07/1917 10/03/1917
- J.C. Hughes 10/03/1917 10/02/1918
- W.E. Sherrill 1/09/1919 3/28/1920
- G.L. Richardson 11/13/1921 4/09/1922
- L.L. Shoptaw 10/02/1922 9/06/1925
- S.C. Hammock 12/05/1925 9/07/1930
- R.B. Glover 11/02/1930 10/01/1933
- B.W. Pierce 12/09/1934 4/05/1936
- H.S. McLaren 11/01/1936 9/25/1938
- C.D. Arnold 12/29/1938 9/28/1941
- Wayne Swafford 1/13/1942 9/09/1945
- Hoyt Chastain 10/14/1945 10/30/1960
- Morris L. Cloud 1/25/1961 8/13/1967
- Edgar N. Sutton 10/22/1967 6/04/1978
- Terry B. Parrish 7/16/1978 12/27/1987
- Ron Parrish 3/16/1988 9/6/1995
- Wade Duck 5/15/1996 3/21/1999
- Donald R. Price 7/25/1999 7/18/2005
- Alan B. Shepard 8/21/2005 11/6/2005
- Patrick W. Greer 4/2/2006 2/25/2007
- Joey McDermott 6/04/2007 Present